Shortly after picking up the phone, Pip Black – one half of London’s loudest, funnest fitness franchise Frame – makes a sound that is halfway between a lip-smack and a shudder. ‘I’m drinking this crazy ginger shot,’ she explains. ‘It’s burning my mouth off, but it’s actually very tasty – and making me feel wonderful,’ she assures me, adding: ‘If you don’t enjoy something, why do it?’
That’s the logic at the centre of Frame’s take on fitness, that has fuelled feel-good classes like Friday evening ‘Happy Hour Yoga’ and the leotard-tastic ‘Jane Fonda Tribute’. Who better to inject a bit of positivity into our workout schedules – especially in light of new research out Monday that suggests a few 30-minute brisk walks a week really aren’t enough to keep our hearts healthy.
1 Get real
‘Yes there are women out there with ridiculous bodies and six-packs but they probably don’t have a full-time job or kids. It isn’t an achievable goal,’ says Black – both her and Murphy are mums to boys. What’s more, she continues, there’s no reason it should be. ‘Many of these Instagrammers have been quoted as saying they don’t have their periods because of over-training and under-eating.’
2 Find positive motivation
‘Until recently in the UK, it seemed the only reason people were exercising was to lose weight,’ Black says. ‘We started Frame because we had grown up taking part in sport – moving our bodies everyday and feeling the benefits. I didn’t play hockey to lose weight; I played to score goals and hang out with 12 awesome girls,’ she adds. Struggling to identify yours? We always find focusing on the post-workout head-clear helps.
3 Do what you love
Now the game has changed and there’s a new it-class every week. ‘But if you don’t like doing it, you’re not likely to carry on doing it for very long,’ she says, plainly. And it’s habit that yields results. ‘Spinning had a moment last year, but I hate it. It’s one plane of motion, it might burn calories but it doesn’t float our boat, so we don’t offer it at Frame,’ she explains. The same goes for punishing HIIT. ‘If it feels like your heart is about to burst out of your body, don’t do it.’The best way to be happy is to do what you love.
4 Make it an event
Working out in winter can be a tough sell – so don’t kid yourself you’ll be out doing burpees in the rain. ‘Find what you want to do, and a friend who’s up for the same thing, and lock in two or three times a week – you won’t want to let your mate down,’ she adds. If you need an extra push: just add food. ‘Our classes are something people look forward to. We have people coming on a Friday with their mates and having dinner out after – or popping in hungover on a Saturday morning before heading out for brunch,’ Black explains.
At Frame’s newest outpost in London’s King’s Cross, you won’t have to look very far for healthy sustenance. ‘We’ve got a café serving food throughout the day; eggs, healthy shakes, protein pots, pancakes, salads – it’s clean but not too clean,’ she explains. ‘There’s milk with dairy and everything!’
5 Pimp your home workouts
If luxe fitness classes aren’t in your budget or locale, channel Taylor’s ‘squad’ and go DIY with the it-fit trend of the moment. ‘Buy a set of pads and gloves and invite a mate round boxing. Or take your anger out on your boyfriend. If you’re punching hard you only need 10 minutes and you’re done,’ she explains.
Get your own playlist going and give your kit an upgrade too. ‘There are so many great brands that help people feel really good when they’re working out – not that old T-shirt and the same jogging bottoms you’ve had since you were 12,’ she adds.
6 Keep your body on its toes
‘If you do the same thing over again your body soon learns to do that very quickly and you’ll hit a plateau,’ Black explains. ‘But, say you’re a runner, doing some sweaty HIIT classes will help improve muscle tone, that will help you run faster, and stretch out those calf muscles that have been overworked.’
7 But stop when you need to
If you are looking to get leaner, bingeing on workouts could be sabotaging your goals. ‘If you’re exercising too much and you’ve got high cortisol, your adrenals are in overload, it can be really difficult to lose weight,’ says Black. ‘It’s not always the best thing to push, push, push,’ she adds.
I can almost hear the nose wrinkle down the phone when I ask Black (right, with co-founder Murphy) for Frame’s fitness mantra. But after a pause – this former advertising creative nails it. ‘We have a mural outside our Shoreditch branch by an awesome artist called La’Quena that really resonates with us. It says: “Be bad until you’re good and be good until you’re great”. To us that means being happy with where you are, and knowing not to put too much pressure on in,’ she says.
We’ll drink to that. Can’t promise it’ll be ginger.